Residents of a pond located near the Pennsylvania and West Virginia border were promised a paradise, but instead, they found a toxic, coal-ash-soaked reality. Here's how they're responding.
When developers approached the residents near Little Blue, a small body of water located near the Pennsylvania and West Virginia border, they were told that the installation of a nearby coal plant would improve their quality of life, giving them beach-like landscapes made from hardened, supposedly harmless, coal ash.
As the lengthy list of elements and compounds found in coal ash might suggest, however, there was nothing harmless about what residents would have to endure.
After the plant was put into action, residents began to notice changes in the water's color and the air's smell, leading many to wonder whether life's most basic necessities — air and water — were even safe to consume.
Residents weren't about to take this lying down. Instead, they launched the legal battle of their lives, and in 2012, it was announced that the plant would close. While this is a victory for the area's residents, the damage to their property and health has been done. Some residents have filed suit against the plant's operator. Sadly, Little Blue is far from the only area contaminated by coal ash, and so the fight to preserve land continues on.
If you think our health and the environment are worth fighting for, send a message to the Environmental Protection Agency pressuring them to finalize new rules on coal waste disposal.